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German wine producers continue to focus on the cultivation of white grape varieties. As the German Wine Institute (DWI) announced on the basis of the Federal Statistical Office's vineyard area survey for 2019, white wine varieties with 68,911 hectares now account for two thirds of the total vineyard area in Germany of 103,079 hectares.

This is an increase of 500 hectares or 0.7 percent compared to the previous year and of 3.7 percent compared to 2006, when the area under vines of white wine varieties had reached 63.1 percent, the lowest share of the total area under vines to date.

"This development in the number of vine plantations also reflects the changed wine consumption behaviour of German consumers. After the red wine boom that began in the mid-1990s, they have been turning more often to white wine again since 2009," explained DWI Managing Director Monika Reule.

In 2019, Pinot Gris was therefore the variety with the largest growth in German vineyards for the sixth year in succession: With an increase of 356 hectares, it now stands at a total of 7,069 hectares. But other Burgundy varieties such as Pinot Blanc (5,747 hectares), Chardonnay (2,222 hectares) or Auxerrois (274 hectares) were also planted more than before.

Sauvignon Blanc is at the forefront of this development: its area under vines has tripled in ten years to currently 1,498 hectares. Other aroma-intensive bouquet grape varieties such as Scheurebe (1,417 ha), Gewürztraminer (1,097 ha) or Gelber Muskateller (460 ha) have also recorded slight increases in area.

However, Riesling remains Germany's most important grape variety. With 24,049 hectares (plus 89 ha), almost a quarter of the domestic vineyards had been planted with it in 2019. In international comparison, German producers thus have a share of around 40 percent of global cultivation.

In contrast, the area under red grape varieties declined slightly in 2019: it fell by 294 hectares to 34,168 hectares. Contrary to the trend, Merlot (plus 48 hectares to 744 hectares) and Cabernet Sauvignon (plus 25 hectares to 424 hectares) and the Lemberger variety, over 90 percent of which is cultivated in Württemberg, increased slightly. It grew by 22 ha to 1,934 ha.

With 11,717 ha, Spätburgunder remains the number one red wine variety in Germany despite a slight loss of 45 ha. In global terms, Germany is the third largest producer of Pinot Noir after France and the USA.

(uka / Photo: German Wine Institute)

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